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Old Jun 21, 2007, 9:27 AM   #21
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378

You'll likely have a wide range of dark to bright, with one person more brightly lit and another in shadows often. Those underexposed areas can get pretty noisy at higher ISO speeds if you need to use them.

The Canon 8MP EOS-30D (not on your list) probably does a bit better at the highest available ISO speeds compared to most of the 10MP models (and the EOS-30D is slightly more sensitive than it's rated ISO speed, so I'd take that into consideration when comparing noise levels). It's ISO 1600 is closer to ISO 2000, and it's ISO 3200 is closer to ISO 4000. So, you may want to consider it, too.

The 10MP Nikon, Pentax, and Sony DSLR models use a Sony 10MP CCD sensor. Out of the models using this type of sensor, Nikon probably does a bit better from an image processing perspective (relatively advanced noise reduction algorithms, with less visible noise as ISO speeds are increased). The D80 has adjustable parameters for noise reduction to help out some (off, low, normal, high). It's a tradeoff (noise versus detail) and Nikon is doing a pretty good job with it's noise reduction algorithms.

Now, you really don't want to use the highest available ISO speeds unless you have to. Lens selection can help out there. But, in some clubs, unless stage lighting is good, you may end up needing the higher settings to increase your percentage of keepers without too much motion blur.

I'd try out the cameras in a store to help narrow down your choices. I wouldn't overlook the Pentax models either (although their noise reduction algorithms aren't quite as good as Nikon's, detail retention is probably a tad better at the highest settings). The 6MP K100D would have a bit lower noise (and higher available ISO speeds) compared to the 10MP K10D. Again, it's a tradeoff (noise versus detail), and each manufacturer tends to approach the image processing a bit differently, even when models share a similar sensor.

You want something that you're comfortable with, and some of it gets down to splitting hairs between models at typical viewing and print sizes.

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote

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